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The Toxicity of Tylenol

As you know, acute liver failure is one of the more health-harming side effects of acetaminophen. Interestingly, incidents of acute liver failure caused by this over-the-counter (OTC) painkiller, according to a new study, are evenly split between attempted suicide and unintentional overdose.

These numbers will surprise you:

  • Cases of acute liver failure blamed on acetaminophen use rose sharply from 28 percent in 1998 to 51 percent five years later.
  • More patients overdosed unintentionally on acetaminophen (48 percent).
  • Sixty-three percent who accidentally overdosed used a prescription acetaminophen compound while 38 percent had been taking two acetaminophen meds at the same time.
  • Some patients had been taking less than 4 grams of acetaminophen daily before their livers failed.

Experts believe acetaminophen causes its damage by depleting your body of glutathione. If you keep your glutathione levels up, the damage from acetaminophen may be largely preventable. Even conventional medicine recognizes this, as anyone who overdoses on it receives large doses of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) in the emergency room.

If you want to treat your pain without harming your health, you'll want to review my recent piece on seven safe and effective treatments, none of which have anything to do with a drug.

Hepatology, Vol. 42, No. 6, December 2005: 1364-1372 Free Full Text Article

EurekAlert November 29, 2005

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